Some observers of the Murdoch mafiosi and their shilling-takers may have forgotten how the Times’ chief investigative reporter Andrew Norfolk sprayed his hard-won credibility up the wall on the infamous “Muslim fostering” case. They may also have forgotten the report by Professor Brian Cathcart, and Paddy French of Press Gang, exposing Norfolk’s systematic Muslim bashing, and the faux outrage from the Murdoch press in response.
Now, along with Zelo Street, they are making it very clear that They Told You So. Not specifically about Andrew Norfolk, but about the Times’ dishonest and systematic demonisation of Muslims, behaviour which, let us not forget, has also been practiced by pundits at the Sun. These have included Trevor Phillips lying about the “Muslim fostering” story, and Trevor Kavanagh’s Nazi-era talk of “The Muslim Problem”.
The Murdoch press has a problem with Muslims. Or rather, it has a problem reporting on them honestly and accurately. It has a problem with lying about them. And it is the lying which has this time landed the inmates of the Baby Shard bunker in deep legal doo-doo. The offending Times article came in the wake of the Reading stabbings last June.
That article attempted to link advocacy group CAGE and its outreach director Moazzam Begg to the man who murdered three innocent individuals. This was, let us not drive it around the houses for too long, a complete pack of lies. Now has come the apology.
“We incorrectly suggested (News, 25 June) that the advocacy organisation CAGE and its Outreach Director, Moazzam Begg, were supporting the individual suspected of the Reading knife attacks of June 20, 2020, and that they were excusing his actions by reference to failings by the police and others. We also wrongly stated that they refused to comment on their involvement with the suspect”. Rather a lot wrong there, then.
And there was more. “In fact, while they commented on Police and media reaction to the attack, they had no involvement with the suspect. We apologise to CAGE and Mr Begg for these errors and the distress caused, and we have agreed to pay them damages and legal costs”. The amount of damages, CAGE then revealed, was £30,000.
Prof Cathcart was scathing in his response to the news. “The third time in a year that [The Times] has paid damages for publishing falsehoods about Muslims. So desperate is this paper to demonise this minority that due care and accuracy simply go out the window. It's not just Andrew Norfolk doing this. It is Times policy”. No lessons are being learned here.
There was more. “Previously [The Times] libelled a prominent Muslim banker by falsely suggesting he endorsed FGM, and before that an imam in Gloucester who it falsely stated supported extremism. In each case there is huge and lasting personal damage, but [The Times] does not care”. This is coming from the top. It’s being approved by editor John Witherow, and by implication, also by News UK CEO Rebekah Brooks.
And, as he’s not told them to desist, it must be assumed that this behaviour has the blessing of Rupert Murdoch himself. But then, the Murdoch press has peddled racism for decades. So no-one should be surprised by this news, except for one detail.
That being the rest of the press remaining silent on the issue. And that’s not good enough.
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